International wildlife smuggler held at KLIA
The STAR, 28 August 2010
SEPANG: A man, believed to be international wildlife trader Anson Wong, has been detained at the KL International Airport following the seizure of more than 90 snakes from various species
It is learnt that the man was in transit from Penang to Jakarta on Thursday when he was detained by Malaysia Airlines staff, who had been alerted after a piece of luggage was reported broken. The snakes were found inside the bag. (don't the baggage scanners at KLIA pick up this sort of things ?)
According to a government official, 95 of the snakes are believed to be boa constrictors, two are suspected to be rhinoceros vipers and one is believed to be a matamata turtle.
Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that a man named Anson Wong was picked up at 8.50pm on Aug 26, by airport security for allegedly trying to smuggle snakes. He has been remanded until Tuesday.
“We have handed the person over to Perhilitan (Wildlife and National Parks Department) for further investigations,” he said.
It had been reported by The Star in February that Wong had been linked to a Dec 15 seizure in the United States of various types of animals from an exotic animal outlet.
Two of the trader’s companies were found to have been supplying animals to the outlet.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had claimed that CBS Wildlife and Sungai Rusa Wildlife, both owned by Wong, were supplying various types of animals and wildlife to US Global Exotics (USGE).
Wong pleaded guilty to trafficking in wildlife in the US and was sentenced to 71 months’ jail in 2000.
Monyet King says
While I congratulate the authorities for this arrest, I think it is time for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to come clean on Anson Wong. Ini bukan cerita baru, bang... ini cerita lama. Anson Wong is world-reknown when it comes to illegal wildlife trade - yet he has licences from our Perhilitan. The Nat Geographic report January this year painted a very unflattering picture of the department and I believe a large majority of people believe that story.
Perhilitan must withdraw all licenses it has given to Anson Wong.
Also read my blog entry last week and in January about the same matter.
For more stories about Anson Wong, read here, here, here and here.
Note that illegal wildlife trade is not only limited to Malaysia. See the report below about the arrest of a woman in Bangkok this week - trying to smuggle a tiger cub to Iran.
Tiger cub found among stuffed toys in Bangkok luggage
BBC News Asia Pacific 26 August 2010
A two-month-old tiger cub has been found sedated and hidden among stuffed toy tigers in a woman's luggage at Bangkok's airport, the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic has said
The Thai national was trying to board a flight to Iran but had difficulty with a large bag at check-in.
X-rays aroused suspicions among airport staff who believed they had seen an image resembling a real animal.
Wildlife officers were then called in and discovered the tranquilised cub.
The tiger was found last Sunday and is now being cared for at the rescue centre of the department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation.
Authorities are trying to determine if the cat is wild or captive-bred.
Chris Shepherd, South-East Asia deputy regional director for TRAFFIC, said: "We applaud all the agencies that came together to uncover this brazen smuggling attempt."
But he also called for regular monitoring and harsher penalties.
"If people are trying to smuggle live tigers in their check-in luggage, they obviously think wildlife smuggling is something easy to get away with and do not fear reprimand," he said.
"Only sustained pressure on wildlife traffickers and serious penalties can change that."
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